A B Bar Extra: Creating Original Content

blogkeeping | lisa butler, elembee

I sometimes marvel at where I would be if I hadn’t met Lisa Butler early in 2012. Dead in a proverbial web development ditch, probably. She has helped me with web development not only for this site, but also my design studio, The B Bar, and many client projects as well. And she has yet to NOT find a solution to any complex problem I’ve sent her way!

As a little extra to this morning’s post, I asked Lisa if I could run a column from her excellent blog series Blogkeeping while I’m away. In this series, she shares tips about blogging and gets tons of great insights from other bloggers as well via the comments. Here’s a recent post of hers on creating original content. I highly recommend you check out the rest of the Blogkeeping series!

On the Blogkeeping survey last year, by far the biggest struggle noted was growing your readership. I’m sure you’ve heard this a hundred times (and probably at least half of those in last week’s Alt recaps), but the key to growing your readership is focusing on creating original content. But what does that even mean? And how are you supposed to create original content with limited free time, when you’re earning a living elsewhere?

I think a lot of people think you have to take your own photos and create entirely new concepts to have original content — and yes, that would be truly original content. But that can take a lot of time and resources that many of us don’t have. However, I think you can still create original content by putting your own unique spin on things. Here are just a few ideas:

tell a story

I mean, let’s be honest, anyone can regurgitate their Pinterest feed. How can you turn it into a story? Instead of just posting things you like from Pinterest, talk about why you like them and how it applies to your life. (And please, properly credit â€” Pinterest is not a source.) Bonus points if you can tie it to another one of your interests!

collaborate

What do you really want to know about other people? Ask them! My At the Moment series was a big factor in growing my blog last year — it was a great way to get to know other bloggers, introduce my readers to some of my favorites, and they would share the post with their readers as well, which would bring new readers to my site. I’m always curious about the beauty products people love, where they want to travel, and what books they’re reading, so I started with that and expanded the idea from there — what tied it all together is that I’m just really curious about what people love at a given moment in time. What are you curious about? Is there something you want to explore for your own personal growth? For example, Krystle wanted to explore overcoming fear and turned it into an interview series sharing real-life stories about how others overcome their fear.

Also think about ways you can work with other bloggers to create something unique together. I’ve been seeing a lot of this lately, and I think it’s a great idea — by offering two perspectives, you’re automatically providing something that can’t be seen elsewhere! A couple of examples of this are Design Residency with Striped Cat Studio and Bedsidesign, and Foliophoto with Raincoast Cottage and Bedsidesign.

share your expertise

I use the term “expertise†loosely, because honestly, I don’t see myself as a know-it-all blogging expert even though I’m sharing blogging tips with you. I think the key here is you don’t have to know everything, you just share what you do know. Jasmine Star talked about this at Alt â€” she built a following sharing photography tips during her first year of business, and seasoned veterans questioned why people would go to her, a beginner, for advice. It was because they could relate to her! She had just gone through what they were going through, and because of that, her advice was more relatable than someone trying to remember where they were 15 years ago. What do you know that can benefit other people?

present it in a unique way

Again, anyone can present a list of things they love. How can you make it memorable? I focus on creating consistent layouts with a unique style, well, for obvious reasons, so no matter what I do, I always make sure my graphics stick to certain standards I’ve set for myself. I also love how Eleni and Victoria make shoppable graphics for their posts (editor’s note: aww, shucks, lisa)! If graphics aren’t your thing, maybe you use a unique writing style or have a special sign-off for your posts — think of some personal touch readers can remember you by.

These are just a few ideas, but I would love to hear your thoughts! Are there any examples of original content that inspire you? What ways do you make your content your own?

 {Re-posted with permission from Lisa Butler. I realize there’s a certain irony in re-sharing a post on original content, but I think you’ll agree that Lisa’s tips are great!}

11 comments

  1. Chelsea said: replied:

    Lisa is a genius! I love her blog and this series. She is just awesome. xo

    8 Apr 2013 | Reply
  2. Abby said: replied:

    These are all such great ideas! Creating original content can be hard because of the reasons you listed. Collaborations really help but so does contacting bloggers! You might be timid to do so but it really helps! I know when I contacted you, I got so many helpful tips and such so thank you SO much!
    xx
    Abby

    8 Apr 2013 | Reply
  3. Alexa said: replied:

    I love her blog and these are all such important tips to remember as a blogger!

    8 Apr 2013 | Reply
  4. Folle De Joie said: replied:

    Thanks so much for this! As a new blogger, I am finding all this so, so useful. Can’t wait to get more of this via the B Bar!

    xox

    http://folledejoieblog.com

    and check out my latest post here: http://bit.ly/Y8oPqd

    8 Apr 2013 | Reply
  5. Courtney said: replied:

    Thank you for the terrific advice! I learn so much from other bloggers!

    8 Apr 2013 | Reply
  6. Meghan said: replied:

    I’m about to read read read her blogging series , thank you for sharing .

    Meghan Silva’s Blog

    8 Apr 2013 | Reply
  7. Hitha On The Go said: replied:

    These are outstanding tips! I discovered Lisa’s blog just this year and quickly became a fan. She truly understands the challenges of blogging and presents solutions in easy, friendly ways.

    8 Apr 2013 | Reply
  8. I love reading Lisa’s blog keeping series, thanks!

    8 Apr 2013 | Reply
  9. [...] Meg and Victoria have even offered up some free tips (are we too old to call it pre-gaming?!): Creating Original Content and 22 Free Tips From Top [...]

    13 Apr 2013 |
  10. Sheila said: replied:

    Must say to you that your are very kind to share your experience and insight with others. It’s great that we help each other out. Great advice on blogging for newcomers..

    20 Mar 2014 | Reply
  11. Sheila said: replied:

    Must say to you that your are very kind to share your experience and insight with others. It’s great that we help each other out. Great advice on blogging for newcomers…

    20 Mar 2014 | Reply

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